The Minister’s remarks came during a discussion at the GLOBSEC2018 Bratislava Forum, entitled ‘Energy Transition to the Post-Oil Era: Sharing the Know-How’.
Renewable energy is an attractive option to invest and develop in order to meet the UAE’s future energy needs. With its geographical location, the UAE is well poised to take advantage of solar technologies.
The idea of hosting IRENA, and being a model for sustainability and renewable energy development, is part of the UAE’s leading energy policy Al Mazrouei explained. "If you look at the prices of solar energy worldwide, you will see that the UAE had broken those records downwards, four times in a row, reaching lower than 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour – no one dreamed of that when we first started," he added.
The UAE also seeks to address climate change by reaching its goal of 44 percent renewable energy by 2050, and reducing its carbon dioxide emissions by 70 percent.
Commenting on opportunities for renewable energy development projects for the GCC as a whole, and the UAE in particular, the Suhail Al Mazrouei commended the UAE strategy to provide 44 GigaWatt of renewable energy by 2050, and the announcement by Saudi Arabia to produce 200 GigaWatts.
"I think our countries, by that time, will create potential to inter-link with Europe through the exchange of power resources, benefiting the whole globe from such exchanges and at the same time reducing emissions from other sources," he added.
Highlighting the UAE’s investment and engagement in significant developments within Europe, the Minister commented, "We are a major investor in Europe, and we are proud of this partnership model that we have built with our European partners."
"Around 20,000 Europeans are employed in organisations that we own or partially-own. We are very proud of their creativity and research and development pathways," he added.
These renewable technologies developments help the UAE strengthen its economic ties across the world.
Masdar has invested in a range of international high-profile, utility-scale renewable energy projects, including Torresol Energy, a joint venture in Spain with SENER that operates 120 megawatts of concentrated solar power plants, and the London Array, a 650-megawatt offshore wind farm in the Thames Estuary.
The 158MW Tesla wind farm project is a utility scale onshore wind farm under development in Dolovo province, Serbia. Upon completion, the project will provide clean and sustainable electricity to approximately 113,000 Serbian homes, mitigating approximately 750,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
Speaking about renewable energy technology development, Al Mazrouei said that the UAE had tested a number of models, including going 100 percent green. "However, this did not work as a result of the lack of technologies available. Our best option was a 50-50 ratio between fossil-based and renewable energy sources," he continued, adding that the UAE targeted the cleanest forms of fossil-based energy production and that the nation is also working with many manufacturers to improve gas turbine efficiencies.
Along with water desalination projects, all these ideas will place the UAE as a front-runner for transitioning towards greener energy, Al Mazrouei affirmed.
Commenting on substituting hydrocarbons with other energy supplies, the Minister of Energy and Industry said, "I don’t believe one form of energy is going to substitute the other. Yes, EV energy will evolve however it will not replace the demand for hydrocarbons."
Speaking about the US shale oil industry, he added, "I don’t see shale oil as a competitor, I see it as a complementing actor. Shale oil has helped in balancing market demand and supply."
The UAE Minister of Energy and Industry is participating in the GLOBSEC Forum – a global strategic forum connecting the realms of politics, academia, the non-government sector, and business, covering political and social developments in the transatlantic area, Middle East, and other regions.
Participants include hundreds of influential political leaders, experts from leading global think-tanks, academia and business, as well as visionaries and innovators, to discuss and seek solutions to the most pressing global issues.